Tag Archives: Self-Help

LCFC Journal #25: A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

17 Sep

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Dear Kevin,

 

I’m your future self, ten years from now. First and foremost, congratulations!!! The beginning to the rest of your life begins now. How are you feeling? You’re probably going through a constant flux of emotions currently. I know you feel a lot of angst about college but you’ve been raised right by your parents. You are going to get through it!!! The reason why I’m writing to you right now is because I’ve been through some of the things you will have to endure in due time and I figured I’d write to tell you what to expect on the journey up ahead. The first thing you need to realize is that college is a good idea for anyone wanting to get ahead in life but the schooling you’ll receive alone is not the answer. There is a lot of grit, determination, persistence, effort and hustle that will get you to where you need to be.

Now do I know exactly where you’ll be in about 15 or twenty years personally? Of course not, because if that was the case, I would have been figured it out for myself as well. So, I think that it is safe to say that we’re all learning. It doesn’t matter how old you are. There’s something to learn in every way possible and life lessons to be experienced every step of the way. You’re probably thinking that you’re going to make it throughout the entire 4-year college experience with the mindset that you will major in one field exclusively. That can happen but I also want you to be understanding that your desires, career path and expectations will change every step of the way. Whatever you do young fella, don’t limit yourself. Take advantage of every single opportunity college has to offer you: social life, networking, internships and building relationships with people that share the same interests as you and have similar mindsets.

Also, I know you feel as if you have an allegiance to dad but if you know deep within your heart that computer engineering is not for you then DON’T DO IT! It doesn’t make any sense to be paying for an education that will grant you access to a career that you hate. What I’ve learned over the last ten years is that in life, we need to be reasonable but a bit selfish sometimes. If you’re going to study something make sure that it’s in something that you love. Will it guarantee you a position somewhere with full benefits and a salary? Maybe. Probably not. So, why not just focus on happiness and letting the rest play out as the days and years unfold? Also, you are not alone in this journey!! You have a full support system around you or will come to have one in due time. There are good people out there you just need to find the right ones that fit you as a person and as a future professional. Another thing: don’t break the bank in order to service your education. If you come to a point where you cannot afford to pay for private school consider going to a community college. These colleges are affordable ways to gain educational experience and if you commit your time to studying and being focused you will prepare yourself for further schooling afterwards. Most importantly Kev, just be you. There will be detractors and critics out there that want to see you fall flat on your face. It will be up to you to block it and cancel out all noise. Last, but not least, in your quest for happiness and success don’t let ambition and desires deter you from spending time with family. If I had the opportunity to do it all over again this is something I would certainly press a hard reset on. No matter what it is that you will be facing in college, you will never have the chance to have another support system in your life as much as family. Doing well in school is cool, following your dreams is great but what’s the point to all of that when you’re not making time to celebrate accordingly with the ones you love? Alas, I am done here.

Being 28-years-old doesn’t afford me enough time to say everything that I’d like to say due to bills, workload and being at a crossroads of possibly switching careers. But nonetheless, I know you have what it takes to make it happen Kevin. You’re bright, funny and very generous. Your energy is magnetic and it lights up any room that you walk into. You’re going to be fine. Be sure to keep God first every step of the way and remember that life is a journey. You must experience it every day in full in order to get to the next part of the journey. If you don’t know what I mean, don’t worry young fella, you’ll soon understand in due time. I wish you nothing but the best and I hope to hear from you in ten years or so. Let me know how it all works out for you down the line.

 

Signed,

-Your Older Self

Kev Elev

 

Kevin Anglade is a writer, poet, scholar, educator and publisher from Queens, New York. He started taking writing seriously at the age of 21 in 2012 and since then uses art as a way to educate and promote self-expression. In the summer of 2018, Anglade took residency in Takoradi, Ghana as he was selected to take part in Limited Resources Teacher Training, a fellowship that takes teachers to various countries to provide instructional training and resources as a form of equitable exchange. Anglade holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s from the City University of New York in English literature (Brooklyn & Queens College). He is a part-time professor in the General Ed Studies Department at Goodwin College and currently teaches English Language Arts at the Ethel Walker School for Girls in Simsbury, Connecticut. He enjoys, reading, writing, hip-hop, stand-up comedy, basketball and is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection, “A Flower That Rose” (2021).

LCFC Journal #24: Self-Worth vs. Market Value (In 5 Parts)

13 Aug

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Part I: Believe in Yourself

One summer’s day, I tuned into the Breakfast Club in 2018 and the crew happened to be interviewing the lovely and super talented Amanda Seales. While I was watching, DJ Envy asked her why she chose not to quit in pursuit of her dreams when things weren’t going her way. And her response to that question certainly struck me as she said: “I’ve always believed in my actual talent. I always knew my worth but you have to know your market value. And so, people don’t understand the difference between that and that’s how you get in the way of advancing.” When I heard this during an afternoon drive, I nodded my head profusely. At the time I felt as if that was something I had been dealing with my entire existence. I always had to fight to be recognized for my talents. I always had to fight to prove that I was worthy enough to be in the same room as people that were just as or more successful than me. I always had to fight for what I believed in and prove that I belonged. However, there were people or institutions that always passed on me. Whether they thought I was good enough or not, I’ve always felt as if anything I’ve ever really wanted in life I’ve never gotten. Little did I know at the time that I was wrong, and I had come to terms that if I didn’t believe in myself than who would ever believe in me?

Part II: Practice Patience

After graduating from college with a degree in English literature, I remember being in a state of shock. There were no job offers. No fellowships. Nothing. I remember thinking to myself, “what the hell is going on, right now? Is this for real?” I just couldn’t understand how someone such as myself who had completed two internships in the publishing industry and finished undergrad with a 3.5 GPA would find himself with no opportunities. The state I was in connects back to the conversation Miss Seales had on the Breakfast Club where she also stated, “Sometimes we get frustrated on the path and to your point people give up because they’re like damn, why shit ain’t turning over yet?” Frustration wasn’t even the word for me. Angry was more like it. By the time summer 14’ came and went, with it also went any guarantees or inkling of a job. I was livid as I started thinking about all the things I possibly did wrong in college. Maybe I didn’t join enough clubs. Maybe I didn’t do enough internships. All I wanted was an opportunity to work in the publishing industry and it seemed as if it was never going to happen.

Part III: Self Perception vs. Expectation

In November of 2014, I started working at Queensborough Community College as a part-time secretary. During that time, I remember thinking that working there was only going to be temporary for me, at least, so I thought. Personally, I didn’t expect to be there any longer than 6-9 months. However, the universe had other intentions as I worked there for two and a half years. In August of 2015, I remember being very miserable due to the amount of applications I had put in with no responses to show for it. Once again, I felt like a failure and what didn’t help was that I never planned to work at my old junior college. Before long, I started to think my just due would soon arrive. There was no way that I was going into 2016 still in the dilemma I was in. Which leads me back to another bit in the interview where Amanda said, “I think a lot of that too is that people think they’re owed the turnover. Like, I put in the work why hasn’t it happened? That’s when you have to really step back and think: what are the ways in which I’m getting in my own way?” In 2015, I expected a major turnover for my own life. I expected it. I craved it. I wanted it. But it didn’t happen. Someway, somehow, I stayed positive. I stayed focused.

Part IV: Stuntin’ On The Gram

Social media is a killer. Seriously. I remember when I was amid my quarter life crisis trying to figure out what direction I was heading in and would constantly be on Instagram. My time spent on the platform wasn’t good as I would often find myself comparing my trajectory with those of my peers. This was and still is (in certain ways) the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with growing up as an adult. I would see people taking photos on swanky vacations or posting about their new careers and how happy they were in their field. Seeing this made me think less of myself and that I must have done something wrong along the way. For me, I know I’m someone that is truly talented and can offer a lot to a company in writing, publishing or media. But I felt as if the world felt the total opposite and chose to ignore me along the way. It wasn’t until I heard Amanda’s perspective on this that I started to make connections with my situation. In her interview with TBC, she also stated, “The reason I say it’s so important to know your market value versus your own personal value is because that’s what drives you crazy. And there’s all these folks out here winning and you’re like, what am I doing wrong?” All I wanted was a shot as I hoped that I’d get one along the way.

Part V: Validation

Last fall, I applied for a PhD in English at several institutions in the north east. This past spring, I heard from all my schools of choice and they said, “no”. At first, I didn’t sweat it much as I was waiting on one school in particular to get back to me which was Brown University but as I waited and finally received my rejection letter I remember going home and crying a bit that night. Brown was an institution that fit my research agenda to a T. In addition, it’s an Ivy League so I knew that the potential for major opportunities would be endless at a school with such renowned prestige. But when they said “no” there I was again feeling like I had come so close only to let an opportunity that was once in a lifetime slip through the cracks. I was crushed. I felt like quitting life altogether. I couldn’t understand why things once again did not go my way. A few days later, I remember driving back home to Connecticut after spending the weekend in New York and I found myself listening to Amanda Seales’s Small Doses podcast (which I absolutely recommend) and she once again mentioned the idea of self-worth vs. market value. In another episode, Miss Seales read her personal statement that got her into Columbia University where she did a Master’s in African-American Studies with a concentration in Hip-Hop. I couldn’t help but smile as she rejuvenated my thirst and quest for higher education. Thanks to her I began to realize that the rejection notices weren’t personal. I just had to try again and hope that the next time around the schools I’d be applying to would see value enough in my credentials to want to take a chance on me. And in that very same BC interview she said this: “A lot of times we get bent out of shape and we quit because we don’t understand the game. We don’t know the difference between knowing your worth but also knowing other values to other projects and you gotta get in certain spaces to increase other peoples perception of your work. This is the game.” Bottom line here: Never give up on what you think is for you because if it is for you, the universe will grant it to you in due time. Thank you, Amanda Seales for inspiring this post. We’re all capable of achieving our dreams and deepest desires, it’s just a matter of having the right eyes fall upon your work in the right place and at the right time. Hence, market value.

 

KEVIN ANGLADE is the author of mercy for murder(s) in brooklyn, a detective fiction novel. He was featured on NBC’s The Debrief with David Ushery in 2014 where he provided insight and purpose about small-press publishing. Anglade holds an A.S. in Theatre, (Queensborough Community College) a B.A. in English (Brooklyn College) and an M.A. in English (Queens College). He recently taught 7th & 8th grade English Language Arts in Hartford, Connecticut and is the author of the poetry collection “Life Comes From Concrete”: a poetry memoir (2016).

Find him online at:

http://www.kevinanglade.com

Twitter/IG: @velevek